This King’s Favorite Food Killed Him
Adolf Frederick (1710 – 1771) reigned over Sweden from 1751 until his death twenty years later. A weak monarch on a throne once occupied by giants who shook Europe, such as kings Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII, little of import happened in his reign. Adolf Frederick reigned more than he ruled. Most real power rested with Sweden’s Riksdag, or parliament. He made intermittent attempts to buck parliament and increase his royal prerogatives, but they all ended in failure. He remained a figurehead king, which was not a bad thing, because it marked a shift from absolutist monarchy to a constitutional one. To console himself, Adolf Frederick spent most of his reign in pursuit of pleasure. One his greatest pleasures was food, and he became a glutton.
It proved a fatal delight. Adolf Frederick’s reign ended on February 12th, 1771, after he wolfed down a gluttonously lavish dinner. His final meal included large servings of lobster, caviar, sausages, and sauerkraut, washed down with copious amounts of champagne. For desert, he had fourteen servings of semla – a sweet roll topped with whipped cream – with hot milk. Soon after dinner, he began to complain of stomach aches, which steadily worsened until he died a few hours later.